AN: I first posted this fic April 23rd, 2005. Seems like such a long time ago. Well, it was. (Exactly 1 year and 2 months to this day.) I'm surprised I managed to keep this alive for 24 chapters and have it over a year. It's funny, though. I remember that at the time, there must have been a grand total of 10 high school Naruto stories. Now they appear like there's no tomorrow.

So what can I say? It's been a bumpy ride. But hey. It's over now. (Oh my goodness, finally!) I feel so accomplished! I think everyone deserves a big hug! All my reviewers, readers, those who favorited, yada yada. Thanks for sticking with me! Love you all!

So now it's okay. Go yell at me for making this chapter so late. Just wanted to actually do my exams and isps. They took up all my time. So sorry. (Oh. And I couldn't upload anything recently. Used the export feature instead...which worked, as you can tell.) I really did rush in writing this ending. So it sucks. Hah. I'm no good at endings anyway so… whatever. Just one little thing. Later in the chapter talks about someone named Sachiko. Those who watch NANA will know who she is. But other then that, don't worry about it. So, with that,I bid you all farewell.

Chapter 24
That's Life

It isn't until one actually sits down and thinks about it that they realize that humans are really just animals at heart. It's seen as 'funny' or sometimes 'strange' when you see a dog going to fetch a stick, or a cat chasing its tail. But this is just a game. And really, humans are very similar. In fact, if they had tails, they'd probably chase them, just for kicks.

So, now, games that humans play, like tennis for example; can it not just be thought of as a creative way to waste time? All that's happening is that people hit a ball back and forth over a net. When you analyze this, it suddenly seems so very pointless. It is just a way to pass time.

But when your actually running around like a chicken with its head cut off chasing after that stupid bright green ball, one tends not to think about things like that.

"Match!" called the blonde girl from the other side of the net. Breathing heavily, Sakura slumped to her knees like she'd wanted to for the past five minutes. Ino did the same.

"Good game," the pink haired teen managed to say. She got a nod in return. "Though it was the tie breaking round. So we're still pretty much equal." She used her racket to steady herself and went to fetch the ball that had bounced all the way down to the other side of the courts.

"Yeah, but this game…was important," the other also rose to her feet shakily. She walked over to where her water bottle lay and took a long swig. "Between us, I'm now one ahead. A perfect way to end off the high school season, if I do say so myself."

Sakura tossed the ball in the blonde's direction. "Sure, sure. Whatever you say." She flopped down on the bench and wiped her forehead using the black sweatband around her wrist. She could hear footsteps outside the court area. She knew already whom they belonged to.

"Hey girls," Tenten said, sticking her head in. "They wanna close up now. It is Sunday after all." She had her hockey stick slung over her right shoulder and a small gym bag over the other.

"Yes, yes. But just wait a little while. It could very well be the last time we get to do this," Ino commented, placing the cover back over her tennis racket. The other two didn't say anything; she might very well have been right.

"Time flies. Who knew we'd be graduating…tomorrow?" the brunette said with a slight smile. Her friends agreed with a nod.

"You're really leaving then, Tenten?" the pink haired one turned to the girl in question as she asked. "Really leaving the country to go to school?"

"If all goes well, then yes. It's just that…sometimes Konoha gets a little small. There is a whole world out there, after all."

"Oh? What do you mean if all goes well?"

She made a light chuckling sound. "You'll see. If all goes well of course."

Again, silence filled the almost empty gym. "Well, let's get going then," the blonde suggested, then lead the others out. They passed one of the caretakers that were locking up the center. "Thanks again for letting us stay late."

"No problem, ladies," the short man replied, "you enjoy the rest of the day."

The three friends continued on their way, keeping up a light conversation. Upon reaching the stairs that led down to the main part of town, Ino turned to her two friends. "I'm off then. See you two later." Just before stepping into the shadows, Uchiha Sasuke emerged. "Good afternoon, Sasuke-kun," she chirped. He gave a mere nod in reply. But she just smiled. It was foolish to chase after someone whom she knew could never be hers. While she could very well beat the pink haired teen at tennis, she couldn't beat her at his heart. So she continued out of sight.

"Sasuke-kun! You're home from work already?" exclaimed Sakura, walking over and taking both of the Uchiha's hands. She gave a charming smile, which he did not return. Instead, he glanced sideways. "Sasuke-kun?"

"Sakura. We need to talk," he said quietly. He glanced over at Tenten, who was still standing there. "Now would be preferable."

"Oh…now?" she repeated, the grin falling off her face. It was rare when Sasuke said that they 'needed to talk'. "But…she was coming over to my place now to help with the final planning for some things tomorrow." The pink haired one also looked back at her friend.

She seemed to have gotten the hint. "Ah, I see. I'll make myself scarce then. We can reschedule it for later tonight. Seven-ish."

"That's fine, I guess, but what are you going to do in the mean-time?"

"Oh…I'm not sure. Probably to go see how my favorite Hyuuga cousins are holding up," Tenten said with a wave her hand.

"Why, what's happening there?" Sakura questioned.

"I think uncle-dearest is giving the two the pre-university pep talk. You know, 'I know you both are responsible teens but we should go over that drugs equals bad and sex before marriage is also a no and these rules must always be followed'. And so on."

The other female chuckled. "Sounds fun. Isn't it a bit early for them to be talking about it, though?" The brunette shrugged. "Well, save them well."

"I'll try," she replied, hoisting her gym bag once again over her shoulder. She waved good-bye to the couple and set off at a jogging pace to the Hyuuga compound.

They watched her back for a moment before turning to each other. "Here, let's go sit somewhere," the pink haired girl grabbed the other's hand and led him towards the bushes. She moved some out of the way and came across the old park. She hadn't visited it much. By the looks of it, neither had anyone. The vines were beginning to climb up the swings, and moss had grown on the metal poles. Despite all that, Sakura sat down on them anyway, tearing off some of the overgrowing plant. Sasuke did the same. "So then… what's up?"

His dark eyes looked to the ground. He was very silent for awhile, almost as if he was debating whether or not to speak at all. After about a minute, he spoke. "I found him."

The other, knowing exactly who he was talking about, tilted her head to the side. "Really? Where?"

"A few towns over. He's supposedly laying low. But…" He clenched the chains on the swing until his knuckles turned whiter then they originally were.

Silence loomed over the two once again. It was something that usually happened. After all, the Uchiha wasn't much of a chatterbox. The girl began to swing slightly. There was a little creak every time she rocked. "So…what are you going to do about it, then?" He looked up at her. She in turn was staring at her feet. "I mean, you're not the type to sit there and do nothing."

"I…guess…" he replied, finally taking his eyes off her. "I think I'm going there. Get the half of my inheritance by myself. After all, it isn't long until I'm eighteen." He noticed the wide green eyes staring almost bewilderedly at him. "What?"

"By yourself? Are you sure?" she asked, standing up. He didn't answer. "I mean really. What happened when Itachi came here…you know… Well point being you weren't fine alone."

"Sakura," the raven haired teen cut in and prevented her from saying more, "it's fine. Besides, I'm not going to be protected by a girl ever again."

She smiled at his stubbornness. "You…are just so…" she pressed her forehead against his, "so…I don't even have the word for it. I guess that's one of the reasons why I like you so much. When do you leave, then?"

Sasuke broke their small embrace at the question. He glanced sideways again. "The day after grad."

Naruto pulled the blinds aside and peered out the window. It was almost time. Then he saw what he was looking for. It was slowly making its way down the road. He broke out into a grin and rushed to the mirror one final time. He fixed his unruly blond hair, and straightened his tie.

"Alright, Naruto. It's ShowTime," he told himself, before grabbing his suit jacket and walking outside his apartment. Down waiting on the street was a black stretch-limo. The chauffeur was waiting at the door. "Oh, wow. I'm so glad I'm graduating!" he exclaimed. The door was opened for him, and he took a seat at the very back of the vehicle.

He was the first person inside, so while the driver went to the next location, Naruto searched around the exquisite limo. Champagne glasses lined the shelf near the front. There were also two televisions mounted on the sides. "I could get used to this," he said, making himself comfortable on the leather seats.

The limo started to pull further down the street. It wasn't too long before it stopped again. Naruto knew exactly whose house this was. "Whoa, spiffy car," a male voice said.

When Inuzuka Kiba stepped into the main part of the vehicle, the other decided to joke around a bit. "Hello Kiba. What do you think of my wheels?"

"Are you insane?" the brunet asked with a frown, sitting on one of the seats against the wall. "One, it isn't yours. It's temporarily all of ours, since we all chipped in. And two, don't say it in that tone. It sounds like you're trying to seduce someone. That's very scary." To further prove his point, he scooted away.

"Ha! That isn't my seductive voice," the blond retorted and added a nod of his head. "My seductive voice is more like: Helllllo, Kiba."

It was at that moment that they both noticed that the limo had stopped again and Shino had just walked through the door. He gazed at the two through his dark shades then proceeded to sit as far away as humanly possible from the others.

"I am officially scared for life," the Inuzuka said, turning away. "I think my ears are bleeding. Oh, GOD! My sensitive ears!"

"Really, what are you going on about? The party hasn't even started and you're already losing it," a feminine voice called from outside. Everyone turned to see Tenten enter. The sole female noticed the stares she was getting. "What?" After saying this, she sat.

"Wow. Do you ever look weird!" exclaimed Kiba. This earned him a nice punch in the jaw.

The blond, who was going to say something similar to the latter, decided to rephrase. "Nothing. Just didn't expect you to wear a slim-fitting, long red dress," Naruto commented, staring out the window.

"Humph," she folded her bare arms, "Not like it was my choice. Stupid dress code was black tie only."

The limo stopped again, this time, in front of a duplex. The chauffeur walked around to open the door. The passengers could hear some screams. They sounded very much along the lines of, "Shikamaru! Get your ass out here NOW!" Sure enough, about thirty seconds later, the lazy brunet climbed (except it was more like pushed) into the car. Ino followed, ridding her hands of invisible dust in the process. Her scowl faded when she saw the other female. "Hey, nice outfit."

"Thank you," the other commented sweetly. "At least people can compliment, instead of saying 'Wow. You look weird'." She glared at the Inuzuka boy, who was still rubbing his jaw. He made sure to glare back.

Lee came next, wearing (much to everyone's surprise) a black suit. "Good evening fellow youths of Konoha. Doesn't everyone just look marvelous today?" he exclaimed loudly, sitting near the front of the car.

"Hey, Lee, what happened to your green suit?" questioned Tenten.

"Ah, unfortunately I wore it to a previous engagement a few days ago, and a careless guest ran into me and spilt red wine all over it. It was a most tragic scene! So it's still at the cleaners. Alas, I had to settle for this suit."

The conversations died down slightly, after they picked up Chouji. There was more of a pause between the last stop and the next. When the vehicle did stop, the person didn't even wait for the chauffeur to come around. "Hey! Hey!" protested Naruto upon seeing what his best friend was wearing. "I thought this was black tie! How come he doesn't have to wear a tie?"

"Keep your socks on, dumbass," Sasuke said, sitting next to him. He pointed to his neck. "It's right here. I just haven't tied it yet."

"Not that it matters," muttered Ino to Tenten.

"Yeah," the other female agreed, "When Sakura's done with him it's going to be the first thing off." Then they both laughed, which earned them a glare from the Uchiha. This only made them chuckle more.

"Kah," the blond male said, putting a hand to his forehead in a dramatic fashion, "what has the world come to? Sasuke speaking so openly about his relationship with Sakura-chan? I don't believe it."

"Will you all just shut up about it?" Sasuke said forcefully. Of course, this was grad night. So no one was really in a serious mood. They just laughed or smirked. Though, when the vehicle pulled up in front of the cherry haired girl's house, they all quieted down.

"Hey guys," she greeted, holding up her long black dress so she wouldn't trip. It was then when she noticed that the two other females were doing a very bad job at containing their laughter. "Did I miss something funny?"

"Nope. Nothing," everyone replied simultaneously, other then Naruto, who decided to speak the truth and ended up answering, "Yes you did." Most people turned and gave a kind of glare. But Sakura simply kept on her smile. She took a seat in between her boyfriend and the blond teen.

"Well then, Naruto. I guess that means you wouldn't mind telling me what that funny thing was, right?" she said sweetly. Her smile broadened at the nervous look the other was giving.

He opened and closed his mouth a few times, much like a fish out of water. Then he began to stutter, "Th-that is…well, u-um…h-hey! Look! It's Hinata!" He pointed to the door that opened in front of the Hyuuga manor.

The female walked in first. She wore a black knee-length dress, but wore a white jacket over top, which was zipped all the way up to her neck. Also, the back of her dark hair that usually stuck out awkwardly was flattened down. She mumbled a tiny hello before siting down at the closest seat, which was next to the silent Shino. Her cousin walked in shortly after. He didn't spare a greeting, just sat in between the still laughing females. "You're in a good mood. When was the last time you laughed this much?" he asked, loosening the collar of his perfectly white shirt.

"I don't know. And it wasn't even that funny," Tenten managed to say with giggles in between. Maybe it was tonight in general that was making everyone act differently. Well, not so much differently. More like… excited.

Thankfully for Naruto, though, Sakura seemed to have forgotten about him. "Hey, Hinata. What's with the jacket?"

The shy girl looked from side to side for some sort of help. But two of the females were waiting for her answer, and most other people had taken up small conversations. Then the usual silent ones weren't going to be of much help. "U-um…" she replied, quickly trying to think of an excuse, "it's just that…I'm…um, cold."

"That's complete b.s. and you know it. It's five thousand degrees outside," Ino added in. The pink haired one nodded in agreement. At this, the girl in question stayed silent, simply fingering the zipped of her coat. "Hey, cousin of hers. Why does she have a jacket on?" The male Hyuuga was interupted from his conversation with Tenten and Lee. He shrugged, then went back to this little group. "Well, anyway, we'll find out sooner or later. You can't keep that thing on forever, you know."

Before any of them knew it, they were outside a rather large building. It was a banquet hall. It was here where the graduation ceremony would take place, then a dinner, then (most certainly) a dance. Then there would probably be an after-party. But that was another matter.

Since there were exactly twice the number of males then there were females in their little group, the guys would double-up in escorting the ladies. Ino was the first to exit, a bored-looking Shikamaru on one arm, Chouji on the other. Next was Hinata, Shino silently offering one arm, Kiba (who'd so conveniently elbowed a certain blond out of the way) took the other. Sakura was the next out, Sasuke on her right, and the currently in pain Naruto on the left. The other three exited last.

"Such elegance!" exclaimed Lee, when stepping inside the venue. "I can tell we shall all have quite a wonderful time just by the appearance! Isn't it remarkable, Tenten, Neji?"

"Yes, it certainly is, Lee," the brunette replied, "You're right. I do think that many wonderful things will happen tonight." She looked at the male on her right, who had stayed quiet. He just shrugged. But she assumed he thought so as well.

"Well all things considered, tonight's been better then I expected it to be," Ino commented sipping whatever was left of her mocktail. The only ones left at the round dinner table she was sitting at were Sakura, who was sharing a chair with Sasuke, and Shikamaru, who's head was on the table as if he was sleeping. Which he wasn't. But he really wished he were…

It was only around ten, so most people were still on the dance floor, or relieving their ears out in the hall. Then there were the people who left to go to another party, where they could get drunk. Well, there were already some that were drunk at this party, so it didn't really matter much.

"Yeah. Makes you kind of sad that high school's over. I always thought I'd be glad it was done so I could grow up…but I guess not," the pink haired girl replied, stealing a glance at the Uchiha. He seemed to be ignoring the conversation, since his gaze was elsewhere. "Anyway. It was fun while it lasted."

"I guess it was. What do you think, Shika?" the other said, turning to the lazy Nara genius. He seemed to ignore her question, and continued to 'sleep'. She took a rolled up program and prodded him with it. Even this didn't get his attention. The blonde sighed. She really hoped it wouldn't have had to come to this but… Taking his almost empty glass of water, she dumped whatever was left over his head.

At this, Sakura couldn't hold in a laugh. Hearing this, the Uchiha turned to observe the scene. He emitted a small smirk, then turned his head away again. Shikamaru, on the other hand, stayed in the same position for a moment. Then, he turned his head towards the blonde. With an irritated sigh, he asked, "Are you going to be bugging me like this all through university too?"

"You'd better believe that, Shika-kun," she said as a matter-of-factly. He simply sighed in return, and turned his head back to where it was before the interruption.

"Oh, look. The idiots are back," Sakura heard her boyfriend's voice. She turned her head to see a threesome walking towards the table. Naruto had a glass in one hand, Hinata on the other. A similar situation held true for Kiba. The girl had long abandoned her white jacket, which had originally served to cover part of her low-cut dress. All three of them seemed pretty well drunk. This statement could be proven, seeing that the blond seemed to have said something (funny or not) and the usual quiet Hyuuga burst out into hysterical laughter.

Sakura tilted her head to the side and glanced at the glasses in her friends' hands. Then she turned to Sasuke. "Didn't you tell them that the punch was spiked?"

"I did. But either Naruto didn't remember, or he's deaf," the other replied.

"Heeeeeey! Saaaakura-chyyyyyan!" the blond-in-question waved, spilling some of the red liquid on the carpeted floor. "You gotta try this stuff. It's amazing!"

"Yeah! I was the one who found it!" exclaimed Kiba, a little louder than usual.

"You did not! I was definitely the one who found it!" retorted Naruto.

"No way in hell! You know it was me! You're just jealous!"

"Ah! You both are making my head spin! Shut up already!" Hinata yelled, covering her ears.

"Now look what you've done, you bastard! You made Hinata's head hurt!" the blond yelled, not realizing the volume he was using.

"How was that my fault? It's yours, face it!" the brunet shouted back.

Sakura looked at the raven haired teen. His look read: don't look at me. With a sigh, she rose from her chair and walked over to the wasted trio. "Alright people. That's enough booze for one night," she said in an authoritative tone, taking away the glasses from Naruto and Kiba. She also pried them off the other female. "Oh jeez. Look at you all. If the teachers weren't smashed as well, you'd have been on your way home already. Hinata, Hinata…what's your father going to say about this?"

"Oh well. Screw what Father thinks! Why can't I ever do what I want to do? It just isn't fair sometimes, y'know? Maybe one day I should just go and tell him to lay off. What do you think, Sakura?" the female Hyuuga asked, stumbling away from the two males.

"I think you won't be saying those things in the morning," the pink haired girl said in reply. She sighed at the thought of having to deal with the three of them through university as well. What a complicated love triangle. "Sasuke-kun, you take care of those two! Sober them up if you have to. I'm going to bring this one to her cousin. He can decide what he wants to do with her." The Uchiha nodded, looking at the two drunks, who were still bickering. At that moment, he felt very much like a babysitter.

Sakura took the other girl's arm and put it over her shoulder so she could at least walk straight. They walked towards the back of the hall. She hadn't spotted Neji anywhere in the music-filled room, so he might have gone outside to relieve his ears. Her emerald eyes gazed around the foyer. She found who he was looking for, leaning against the wall. Though, he was accompanied by none other then Tenten. "Hey! Look! There he—" Sakura had to clamp a hand on Hinata's mouth. So far the two hadn't noticed the (so to say) spying females. Sakura didn't want to spoil the moment either. She could make out what they were saying, since they still had to talk over the music.

"So, did you get it?" Tenten asked excitedly, with a clap of her hands.

"I don't know. You tell me. Ladies first," the male Hyuuga replied.

She looked somewhat miffed, but shrugged it off. "Well. I kept up my end of the bargain. Look here," she said proudly, reaching into a black purse. She flashed two slips of paper, of what Sakura couldn't tell from her position.

After placing back in her purse, she waited for whatever Neji had. "Well, I guess then I can give you these," he said, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a pair of keys. The girl looked positively delighted at this. "A penthouse. Consider yourself lucky."

She smirked. "I do love loaded men." From there on then, they closed the distance left between them.

Sakura didn't seem to notice that she'd uncovered Hinata's mouth. She found this out when she exclaimed: "Hey! Nii-san and Tenten are making out. That's crazy! Don't you think?"

Unfortunately, this was loud enough for the pair to hear. Upon noticing their 'audience', they immediately broke apart. "Ah, I'm sorry to interrupt," the pink haired teen apologized, "but, err, Neji…I'm wondering what to do about your cousin." He looked at the girl in question, who waved back. "She's a little…well… shall we say, intoxicated."

His eyes narrowed. "Who was it? I'll kill them."

"Well, whoever put alcohol in the punch is to blame. I just didn't know what you wanted me to do with her."

"I say just leave her until the limo comes to pick us up," the brunette piped up. "See, if she goes home now, Uncle-dearest will have a fit. But he should be asleep by the time they come home. This way, she can go to bed and be normal in the morning. Well, normal with a headache."

"Sounds good to me," the other two replied simultaneously.

"Bah! You guys are all boring. No fun. All you do is talk. I'm leaving!" the drunk female informed the little group before marching off.

Neji sighed. "I'll go." He jogged off after his stumbling cousin.

This left the two females alone. They were silent for awhile, before Sakura decided to speak. "They look like they're having fun, despite everything. I guess that's good."

"Yeah," the other agreed, "It's a good thing it's a full moon. The one day of the month where the Byakugan doesn't appear. Couldn't have asked for better luck, I don't think." The other nodded, and the silence between the two returned.

Finally giving into her curiosity, Sakura asked her question. "Sorry for eavesdropping earlier…but what was it that you guys had?"

"Oh…that," Tenten said, showing her the pair of keys that were still in her hand. She gave them over so her friend could get a better look. "Remember when you asked me earlier if I was going away to study? Well…the answer is yes. But the place is overseas, so I wasn't sure if I could get somewhere to stay, since God knows I don't have the money for residence. But it turns out that Neji was looking at going there too. So he bought a place for the two of us there."

"Oh? Staying in the same house already? Why, you're practically engaged now," the pink haired girl teased. It earned her a punch on the arm.

"Well, what about you and Uchiha? It's been, what, two months now? I'm surprised he hasn't asked you to marry him yet. But I suppose there's still time for that. What's happening for university with him? He staying with you here in the city?"

At this, her green eyes gazed at the floor. Her friend didn't know about the situation with his brother. Nor was she about to tell her. "Oh…he says he's…going away for awhile. I don't know how long though."

"Oh…that sucks," the brunette replied, folding her arms. She noticed that her friend still looked saddened at the though. She put a hand on her shoulder. "I wouldn't worry about it. I can tell he really likes you, Sakura. He's not going to cheat on you with Sachiko while you're away."

The other laughed. "I guess. Shall we go back inside?" Sakura suggested. Tenten nodded, and they went back into the hall. It was at that moment that she realized something. "Tenten, who's Sachiko?"

"Huh? Oh, a girl from a drama I'm watching. Never mind that comment."

Sakura would have said something more, but her friend wandered off. Not exactly trusting what the other had said, she walked over to Sasuke. He was currently sitting back in his chair, keeping watch over Naruto and Kiba, who were on the floor, still bickering.

"Sasuke-kun, who's Sachiko?" she asked quite sternly.

He looked bewilderedly at her. "What are you talking about?"

"Oh, nothing. Never mind."

Sakura struggled to keep her hair down as a strong gust of wind blew by. Though it was summer, she was feeling rather cold. Subconsciously, she wrapped her arms around herself.

"You're cold?" asked Sasuke, who walked up behind her. He tossed her his helmet.

"A little…" she replied. She watched in silence as he affixed a bag to the back of his motorcycle.

"How come? It's warm out today?" He didn't actually look back at her and wait for an answer. He just kept at his previous task. However after awhile of her unresponsiveness, he sighed, knowing exactly what this was about. "Look. My mind's made up."

She sighed. "I know that. I just wish there was a better way to do this."

"I'll be fine. So stop acting like a mother hen." At this comment, she couldn't help but smile and shake her head. When he was done with fastening his bag, he finally turned to her. "I'm not going that far. Just a few cities over. My family owned a few places over there, so it'll be fine."

"Yeah…" she replied uncertainly. The Uchiha reached for his helmet, but she didn't let go. "I just… well, feel rather useless. I want to do something. Anything. Something to help you." Her green eyes stared downwards at her feet.

Using his thumb, Sasuke tilted her head up so that she was looking at him. "Look. There are some battles that I need to fight by myself. You've done enough. More than enough for me. So just sit this one out and wait for me, okay?"

Sakura thrust the helmet into his chest, then took a few steps backward. "That must have been the corniest thing you've ever said. Quite the cliché. Sweet, but cliché nonetheless."

"Is it?" he asked, though it was more of a statement to himself. "I don't know. I think it was from an anime rerun that was on a few nights ago."

The pink haired teen chuckled at this. "No wonder. I don't think it's possible for you to think up something like that on your own. No offense. So…was that the equivalent of an 'I love you' or something?"

He smirked. "I'll leave that up to you to decide." He walked over to his bike, and set the helmet down on the seat. With his head, he motioned for the girl to come next to him. She did so wordlessly. "It's about time I get going so… I'm not going to say goodbye. We didn't the first time. Because 'goodbye' is for someone who you'll never see again. Just stick with a 'see you later'."

Sakura smiled. "You got that from the anime too, didn't you?"

"Yes, I did. I usually think that all that stuff is complete crap, but I guess this thing made some sense."

She shook her head. It was so like him. She gave him a peck on the lips. "Well then, see you later." With a nod, he started the engine of his motorcycle. "Oh, and I better hear from you often. If not, I shall hunt you down and drag your ass back here. Are we clear, mister?"

"Crystal," Sasuke replied, closing the clasp of his headgear.

"And when you do meet your brother again, remember. It's all a mind game. But just be careful anyway."

"You're doing it again. Didn't I tell you not to be a mother hen?"

"Just…tell me you won't do anything stupid, okay?" she commanded.

He ruffled her hair slightly. "Fine. I won't do anything stupid. See you." With that, he began to drive off.

Sakura could only sigh as she watched Sasuke and his bike disappear beyond a corner. "Sasuke-kun… is this how you felt when you watched me go ten years ago?" Funny how their roles were reversed. It seemed as if their story started with her departure and ended at his. Though, he was right. She couldn't think of this as 'the end'. Because it wasn't. It was just the start of a new chapter. That was all. It was simple.

That's life.

It doesn't matter how one got there. But she believed that every fight, every failed test, every laugh, every tear, every jump was simply part of the plot. Life's plot, that is. And whatever it had to dish out, she'd deal with it one step at a time. This was no exception.

"I'll wait. So until we meet again, neh, Sasuke-kun?"